Saturday, October 29, 2016

A Quack & A Killer: The Story of A. B. Armstrong & His Sins

Albert B. Armstrong was born March 13th, 1875 in Monroe County, Kentucky to Lucas and Virginia Buford Armstrong. The family eventually migrated to Collin County, Texas, where Albert married Minnie B. Hundley on August 16th, 1896. The next year, he was the father of a daughter, Beatrice. By the time he was 25 in 1900, the lie of his life had begun: Albert decided he was a doctor, and he was going to practice as such.

There is no evidence that Albert B. Armstrong ever received any formal medical training. What limited repositories there are for seeking out evidence of medical education for a person have been exhausted, and no record for Armstrong has been found. It is possible that he had an apprenticeship with a doctor at one point, but this would hardly have qualified him as a learned and licensed medical professional. When for the 1900 Census in Dallas County, Texas (1) Albert gave his profession as a “Physician”, he did so because that was what he wanted to be considered, but not because that was what he was.

Albert was what was called at the time a “quack”. 

This was a person who engaged in “quackery”. Per Quackwatch (2), we can learn a little more about these persons who claim to be and genuinely believe they are medical doctors or professionals:

“Dictionaries define quack as "a pretender to medical skill; a charlatan" and "one who talks pretentiously without sound knowledge of the subject discussed." These definitions suggest that the promotion of quackery involves deliberate deception, but many promoters sincerely believe in what they are doing. … Most people think of quackery as promoted by charlatans who deliberately exploit their victims. Actually, most promoters are unwitting victims who share misinformation and personal experiences with others.”

While most quacks might fall into the latter described category of “unwitting victims who share misinformation”, Albert B. Armstrong belonged to the former category which most people associate with the term quack: “charlatans who deliberately exploit their victims.” This assertion can be demonstrated by the ample amount of evidence provided by newspapers published during Armstrong’s heyday of swindling, fraud, and malpractice which amounted to actual murder.

 Armstrong was fully aware of the fact that he was not an actual physician, but in pretending to be one and presenting himself as one to unwitting “patients”, when his actions caused the deaths of those patients, those actions amounted to premeditated murder.


[Please note: As we delve into the evidence against Armstrong, for the sake of full disclosure, this author acknowledges that as the nephew (several generations removed) of one of Armstrong’s victims, the dialogue in this article will be perceived as heavily biased. And it is. If it appears that that I think Armstrong was a despicable, pathetic excuse for a human being, it’s because I do. However, when subtracting all of the supplemental dialogue and left only with the facts, one is sure to reach the same conclusion as I have: That Albert B. Armstrong was not a doctor, but a fraud, a criminal, and a killer that unfortunately escaped justice.

While he may now rest in relative peace below the ground, this author has taken it upon himself to ensure that there is clear, succinct and available evidence in existence of Armstrong’s treacherous and cowardly legacy.]

The first of Armstrong’s legal transgressions occurred while he lived in Texas, and came to light after he found himself in trouble with the law in Oklahoma. For the sake of avoiding confusion, his earliest offenses in Texas will be documented after his crimes in Oklahoma are, as that is the timeline provided by the newspaper records that have been found.


It is unclear precisely when Armstrong came to Oklahoma. His second daughter, Mildred, was born in Texas about 1902, and Albert begins appearing in Oklahoma newspaper records by 1909. He is found in the 1910 Federal Census in Shawnee, Pottawatomie, Oklahoma (4). He was still proclaiming himself a medical doctor in that year as well. In the year before, 1909, Oklahomans got their first taste of Armstrong’s fraudulent practices when he visited the town of Chandler, Oklahoma. At this time, he was asserting himself as “Dr.” A. B. Armstrong. (5)

Albert proclaimed himself an “Assistant State Health Officer” working for the state of Oklahoma. He conducted "investigations" of some local businesses in Chandler, claiming reports had been received of there being unsanitary conditions in some of them. He cited concerns with the conditions of some of the local businesses, and threatened “that if the city health officer did not do his duty the state would”. (5)

“Without letting his business be known he visited the different hotels of the city and made a thorough investigation. He also noted the sanitation of the town at large, and after consulting with the city health officer he stated that the city was in a very bad condition and that steps should be taken to clean up from one end of town to the other. He stated that the city should at once begin cleaning out the sink from the depot to the north end of town and rid that part of the city of the unhealthy condition.” (6)

At the end of his inspection of the town, he said “that he would return to Chandler within a week or two and would take further steps to enforce the laws if found necessary.” (6) He took his ruse so far that he appointed a local doctor (an actual medical physician) named Dr. A. M. Marshal as the “superintendent of health for this judicial district with authority of the state board of health”. Eventually, it came to light that he either blackmailed or accepted bribes from some of the local business owners so that he would “quiet the matter at headquarters”. (7)


Unfortunately for Armstrong, someone in Chandler apparently grew suspicious of his scheme and contacted Dr. J. C. Marr of Shawnee, who was a genuine state health officer. Dr. Marr apparently informed the people of Chandler that they had been had, and “Dr.” Armstrong was in no way affiliated with the state health office. (7)

Armstrong was arrested and charged with gaining money under false pretense and was fined $8.00 by the court. The criminal complaint of impersonating an officer did not go through. After being fined, he was released from jail, and his “wife and two children” accompanied him home. (8)

Not to be deterred by being prosecuted as a fraud, Armstrong continued to practice medicine. He hired a nurse from Davenport named Willa Keller to assist him with patients in Shawnee. (9) In April of 1910, he was still listed as being “of Shawnee” when the spouse of an apparent patient published an announcement about her “successful operation” of having a tumor removed. However, this man, a J. N. Henderson, felt that he needed to add that he published this announcement “without the solicitation of the doctor and not by his request”, (10) an assertion which reeks of disingenuousness and indicates that Armstrong did in fact ask Henderson to publish this proclamation. He likely did so to demonstrate to locals that he truly was an actual doctor, when the truth is that he likely just got lucky that he did not kill poor Mrs. Henderson since he had no true medical training. His ruse apparently being convincing enough to fool even actual physicians, he even received consultations in Davenport from a Dr. Wade of Shawnee. (11)


By the month after the above profession of apparent competency from the spouse of a patient, he was listed in the paper as being “of Davenport”, which indicated he either fully relocated to Davenport, or was operating practices in both towns. Apparently, the people of Lincoln County didn’t realize exactly what they were dealing with the first time he came to the area to victimize unsuspecting citizens. His first heinous act of true disregard for human life (not counting however many other surgeries he had conducted where luck was on his side and he did not permanently maim or kill a patient) occurred that month, May of 1910.

“Mrs. Ed Berry who lived about two miles north of Mud College died last Tuesday night. She will be buried today in the New Zion cemetery south and west of town. County Attorney Davis drove to the home yesterday, empaneled a [coroners] jury and an autopsy was held over the body, with the result that Dr. Armstrong under whose treatment the patient had been, was held pending further investigation.” (12)


And so the first known victim, 26-year old Carrie Berry, was dead at the hands of a fraud that was hired to help her. Armstrong allowed himself to be hired to perform a medical procedure knowing full well that he was in no way qualified to perform such an operation. But out of either arrogance or sheer greed for the poor family’s money, he took on the job and because he was ignorant in the ways of proper medical practices, he killed her.

“Chandler - Dr. [Armstrong] of [Davenport] was arrested there on the charge of malpractice and brought to Chandler where he made a $3,000 bond and was released. Dr. Armstrong recently paid a fine here, charged with impersonating an officer in granting an inspection certificate to a butcher shop, purporting that he held authority from the state board of health.” (14)

If Armstrong had any sort of conscious at all within that unhinged mind, he would have stopped then and there. He would have dropped the ruse, taken his punishment, and assumed the life of a normal person, taking up farming or logging or some other type of profession; he clearly had some sort of oily charm to him to manipulate as many people as he did, so perhaps a career as a used car buggy salesman. But of course, he did not. He fought the charges, and was convincing enough to sway at least a couple of jurors of his innocence, leading to a hung jury.

“The trial of Dr. Armstrong in which many Davenport people were interested was concluded Wednesday and the jury disagreed, there being three who held out for conviction.” (15)

“The State against A. B. Armstrong was tried and [testimony] in the case was given to the jury, who returned with a report of no verdict due to disagreement. This case is one wherein a physician is accused of malpractice.” (16)

And so, as he had to countless others, Armstrong manipulated jurors of his position enough to lead to a non-verdict, and it does not appear that the State attempted to charge the case a second time. This close call would lead a reasonable person to conclude that if they continued on this path of deception their luck would run out eventually. But Armstrong does not appear to be a reasonable man by any stretch of the imagination, and he obviously lacked the foresight to know his jig would soon be up.

Though the local newspapers didn’t go into details about them at the time they occurred, Armstrong accrued new charges in early January, 1911. Armstrong told Hugh Ballard “H. B.” Mann, a Davenport resident, as a “doctor”, that he could procure a very expensive remedy that was the best and only chance Mr. Mann’s wife Anna Evelyn Mann (nee Blair) had to survive her bout with tuberculosis. Obviously, since Armstrong was not a doctor and there wasn’t a cure of tuberculosis at that time, Mrs. Mann still died. (17) Armstrong was subsequently charged with Obtaining Money under False Pretenses and Practicing Medicine without a License, and was released on bond (18) (19), where he was free to victimize still more innocent souls.


Regardless of all past and present charges, and arrogant enough to believe that he would either not be convicted or have only a fine levied against him as a result of these newest offenses, Armstrong continued practicing medicine as if the deaths of Mrs. Berry and Mrs. Mann had never occurred. In January of 1911, it was an unfortunate newly-married couple that crossed paths with this devil.

Louvica Barnett was born in Madison County, Arkansas to Jackson Barnett and Phoebe Napier, natives of Breathitt County, Kentucky who fled the feud violence of that territory.  She was orphaned as a young girl and brought to Davenport, along with her brother Andrew, to be raised by her elder half-sister, Amanda Barnett Roberts, and her husband, William. She married Richard Cunningham on December 7th, 1910 and began her new life with her new husband. The next month, she needed to undergo an operation, which was reportedly an abortion. The reasons for this surgery being necessary are not known. It is also unknown if the Cunninghams were aware that in just the past few months, their hired “physician” had killed another young woman and falsely led another family to believe that he could save their matriarch. Regardless, they made their decisions, and these were certainly not choices that should have warranted the tragedy that would befall them.

Amanda Barnett Roberts and her husband, William Roberts, and one of their children. This was taken by their home in Davenport, which would have been the home Louvica Barnett was raised in after her parents died.

But alas, tragedy did strike. Obviously performing another operation for which he was unqualified, Armstrong left 18-year old Louvica Barnett Cunningham dead. According to Newspaper records, the date of this incident was January 30th, 1911. As previously noted, he was already out on bond for other pending charges when he killed Vica Cunningham. And while he had escaped justice once already in Mrs. Berry’s case, apparently he realized his chances of exoneration yet again were slim after a second killing in eight months, so he fled.

Louvica's handmade stone; taken in the 1900s by Debbi Mosher Malwick, a great granddaughter of Amanda Barnett Robers and niece of Louvica.

When a person is released from jail on bond while a court hearing is pending, they just adhere to strict rules while out on bond. Among these rules is one that disallows one from engaging in other criminal activities, and not to leave a specified locale, usually restricted to the county or town in which the offender resides or where the offense occurred. In Armstrong’s case, he violated both of these orders, leading the court to issue a warrant for his arrest on the charges for which he had been bonded.


Fortunately, Armstrong underestimated the ability of law enforcement to recognize him from only a written description, and he was quickly detained in Hollis, Oklahoma. He was initially detained by police there on a warrant for having absconded bond for the aforementioned charges of Obtaining Money Under False Pretenses and Practicing Medicine Without A License. While in custody, a warrant for murder arrived.

Newspapers from Altus to Shawnee covered his arrest, finally making his malevolent practices known statewide:

“A. B. Armstrong, of Shawnee, Okla., was arrested at Hollis Monday morning by City Marshal P. M. Porter, of the latter city, on a warrant from Davenport, Okla., charging him with obtaining money under false pretenses and practicing medicine without license. The marshal arrested the man when he came to town with a friend, the officer recognizing him from a description from the sheriff’s office at Chandler, the county seat of Lincoln county, where the crime was committed. The Lincoln county sheriff was notified and O. C. Burgess, a deputy from Davenport, was sent to take the prisoner back.

At Oklahoma City on his way here, Burgess received a message that still another warrant had been issued for Armstrong on the charge of murder by abortion, his victim being a Mrs. Cunningham of Davenport, 18 years old and a wife of three months.

It is alleged that Armstrong, who claimed to be a physician, induced the girl to submit to an operation which caused her death on Monday. Armstrong was under bond at the time for obtaining money under false pretenses, and left the county, coming to Hollis, where he had some acquaintances. City Marshal Porter and his prisoner were met here by Deputy Sheriff Burgess who took the man back to Lincoln county for trial.” (21)

“A. B. Armstrong, a fake doctor hailing from Shawnee, was arrested on Hollis Monday, on a warrant from Davenport, charging him with obtaining money under false pretense. He is also charged with practicing medicine without license, and murder by abortion.” (22)

"The victim was a young woman who had been married three months and her death resulted from treatment at the Doctor’s hands.” (23)

The Shawnee paper was quick to distance its town from the “fake doctor”, stating that “Armstrong has not resided in Shawnee for more than a year, leaving here about twelve months ago for Davenport.” (18) And so Armstrong was brought to Davenport to answer for his absconded bond.

“Dr. Armstrong who was under bond to appear before Justice Robertson, Jan. 26th and did not put in appearance was brought to Davenport Wednesday in the custody of Deputy Sheriff Burgess. He had been detained at Hollis, Okla. He was in time to save the forfeiture of his bond, ten days extension having been granted. The doctor was taken to Chandler Thursday morning on a warrant issued as the result of the death of Mrs. Cunningham four miles north east of Davenport, death having resulted, it is alleged, from an operation performed by Armstrong.” (19)

Armstrong waited in the Chandler jail for his preliminary hearing, which was set for March 3rd and then continued to March 15th. (24) On March 9th, in a despicable display of support for convicted manipulator, 25 or more people of Davenport gathered together to post Armstrong’s $3,500 bond and he was released. (25) Deciding to go even further to display their support for the known fraud, a reception in Armstrong’s “honor” was held by some of the same folks who bonded him out. At this time, he was back to being referred to as “Doctor” in the paper (the only paper continuing to do so, indicating a probable bias by the paper’s editor in Armstrong’s favor), and it was noted that “all enjoyed a pleasant day socially and did full justice to the excellent dinner”. (26)


Speaking of justice, surely the Barnett and Cunningham families were eager for some, and it is doubtful that they were having a pleasant time while Louvica Barnett Cunningham’s and Carrie Berry’s murderer was schmoozing it up with ignorant townsfolk.


It appears Armstrong’s murder charge was downgraded to manslaughter, which surely strengthened the positions of support held by some of the people of Davenport, illustrating to them that Armstrong was truly just a man being wrongfully charged with a death they apparently deemed either accidental, or simply irrelevant. So then it must have been to their great chagrin when Armstrong was arrested on yet another warrant, this time issued from the state of Texas.

“A. B. Armstrong of near Davenport was Monday turned over to the sheriff of a west Texas county on an indictment charging him with defrauding Irvin Park, a jeweler of Big Springs. The case was fought out in court here, but he was given over to the custody of the Texas sheriff in spite of all efforts to save him. He left Monday afternoon for Big Springs. His wife returned to Davenport, and it is not known what her intentions are.

Sheriff J. A. Baggett of Big Springs, Texas, arrived last week with a requisition from the governor of Texas to the Oklahoma governor, asking that Armstrong be turned over to that state on a charge of defrauding. He was accompanied by Irvin Park who positively identified Armstrong as the man who swindled him out of a large amount of jewelry.

Mr. Park stated that Armstrong at that time claimed to be an expert on eye, ear and throat diseases, also an optician. [Mr.] Park stated incidentally that he was an expert on the “eye,” having caught him in the first round for a good sum. It is also charged that Armstrong defrauded the First National bank of Big Springs of $100.00, by depositing a check for a large amount on a foreign bank and then drawing a check on the Big Springs bank against the check deposited. Mr. Irvin stated that he understood there were charges against him at Pittsburg and Wichita Falls, Texas, but did not know what the charges were. Armstrong presented affidavits from different people, who swore that he was not at the place mentioned in the indictment at the time stated. This it is presumed will be the basis for his defense. These affidavits were presented at the hearing before Judge Huston, before whom the hearing was had, but he ruled that the case was not being tried upon evidence as to his guilt or innocence but whether or not the Texas officials had a valid indictment and had followed the law in demanding Armstrong’s requisition.

Armstrong, through attorneys, made a strong fight to keep out of Texas. Governor Cruce honored the requisition over a week ago, but habeas corpus proceedings were instituted at once by Armstrong, and he fought every point that came up.

There were two or three cases against Armstrong in this county, but the officers could not help but feel a relief when he was ordered back to Texas. Armstrong brought trouble with him when he came to Lincoln county, and it has followed him all the day of his residence here. He blew into Chandler one bright spring morning and immediately got busy, claiming to be an inspector of pure foods and sanitation. As a result he left on the afternoon train, and took with him some of Chandler’s filthy luere [sic]. But Chandler people got busy, too, and he was brought back the next week on an indictment charging him with impersonating an officer.
After his release, he has been into trouble ever since. One of his recent exploits, was when he accosted H. B. Mann of Davenport and stated that he could procure a preparation that would cure Mrs. Mann who was in the last stages of consumption. He stated to Mr. Mann that this anti toxin was the only thing that could possibly help her but that it was expensive. Mr. Mann told Armstrong to go ahead and get the medicine. Mr. Mann states that Armstrong went to Shawnee and had a mixture of something fixed up and sent to him at Davenport C. O. D. and that the charges were $56.00. This was paid and the medicine administered but the patient died soon afterward.

Many other cases are pending against Armstrong in Lincoln County, therefore we say that the officers and the people both gladly bid him adieu, and wish for him many years of useful toil to the Lone Star state.” (17)

Despite Armstrong’s claims that the charges against him in Texas were a case of mistaken identity (28), his actions after his extradition indicate he knew full well that he was about to be convicted, and then likely sent back to Oklahoma for more convictions. The coward was no doubt convinced that he was above being held accountable for his actions. And so he made his escape. (27)

“Armstrong Out – Two jail birds, who have been confined in the Howard county jail here for some time, took wing last night at some unknown hour and at this writing are still doing their best to continue their flight. They may not be making the speed of the average skiyiator [sic], but its two to one, however, that they are going some. The two gentlemen in questions, who have been watching the rain clouds through steel lattice work, are A. B. Armstrong and J. M. Coley, both of whom are charged with the crime of swindling, but who have, since their incarceration, maintained they were innocent and not the parties under indictment. The scheme they worked to gain their liberty seems to have been the old method of sawing an iron bar of their cell and bending it so as to afford a sufficient opening to crowd their bodies through. At just what hour this all happened is not known but is supposed to have occurred about midnight. It is believed that they received outside assistance, as a ladder that had evidently been raised to a window to allow them to reach the ground was this morning found lying near the jail. The tracks of a buggy were also discernable near the jail.
Armstrong defrauded I. H. Parks, the well known jeweler here, and also succeeded in swindling the First National bank of this city out of $100.00. – Big Springs (Texas) Herald.” (28)

Not satisfied with only being a lying, manipulative, cowardly quack, fraud, swindler, murderer, and now escaped fugitive, Armstrong added to the list of his criminal accomplishments thievery in August, 1911.

“Deputy Sheriff O. C. Burgess received a letter this morning from L. S. Carrington, of Maramec, Okla., asking assistance in capturing one Dr. A. B. Armstrong who left Maramec a short time ago with a team carriage and $75.00 for the theft of all which, the letter says, there is now a warrant out for the doctor. He is said to have started to Shawnee to get his family and all trace has been lost of him. Several months ago Dr. Armstrong was taken from this county to Big Springs, Texas, on a charge of swindling a bank. He later broke jail and this is the first the public has hear of him since.” (29)


The Davenport editor exposes his bias here again, deciding to continue christening Armstrong with the title of “Doctor”, despite how clear it had become that he was in no way an actual physician. The papers in Chandler, Big Springs, and elsewhere took no issue with stripping Armstrong of this undeserved title, but Davenport’s editor seems to have struggled in letting go of this. Friends like this editor of the Davenport paper, all of whom had clearly been taken in by Armstrong’s ruse, are likely what assisted him in escaping jail, getting back to Oklahoma, laying low in Pawnee County or wherever else for a couple of months, and then allowing him to cleanly gather his family from Shawnee and remove them from the state. And this he did, as he is not mentioned again in Oklahoma papers after theft in Maramec.

But Armstrong did not disappear. He simply ventured where he believed no one from Big Springs, Davenport, or elsewhere would think to look for him. By March, 1912 Armstrong and his family had relocated over 500 miles away from Davenport in Hickman, Kentucky. Hickman lies in far western Kentucky, very near the borders to both Missouri and Tennessee. He set about practicing medicine again there apparently as soon as he arrived, as he is noted as treating a patient in Fulton County at that time. (30)


Another interesting note is that a few months after his arrival in Hickman, Armstrong had to have surgery (presumably by an actual licensed physician) to remove some ribs which “had been broken and complications developed which necessitated the operation”. (31) Were these injuries incurred during his flight from justice in Texas and Oklahoma? Given the relatively short timeframe from August to May, it seems likely. Living life as a fugitive murderer and criminal is surely bound to lead to occasional injuries. 


Not only did he change states, but Armstrong changed his name as well. In the 1920 Census for Fulton County, Kentucky, Armstrong is found as George Armstrong. (32) The presence of his wife Minnie and daughter Mildred prove it is the same man; that, and the fact that he continued to pretend that he was a “Physician”, as he listed his profession as such. Consistently undeterred by the regular exposure by others as a fraud, “Dr. George Armstrong” continued his skulduggery despite being discovered as a fraud yet again while in Hickman. Perhaps his ruse had reached the point of being a full blown delusion by this point, and he could not be convinced by anyone that he was not a real doctor; perhaps by this point, rather than prison, Armstrong required intensive therapy at one of the nation’s fine mental institutions.
In September of 1916, he was charged with six offenses. On one count of practicing medicine without a license, he was tried by jury and fined $50. On one count of “violating local option law” (dispersing alcohol or liquor illegally—he most likely did so in the name of “medical treatment”), he was tried by jury and fined $60. On a second count of practicing medicine without a license he was found not guilty. The other three cases were continued. (33) In May, 1917, he was found not guilty of a third count of practicing medicine without license, and the other two cases were continued. (34) The results of these final two counts were not located.


Without being privy to the specific court notes to each case, it is interesting that he would be found guilty of practicing medicine without a license once, and then found not guilty on the same offense twice after that. The only explanation seems to be that he sufficiently argued that whatever practices he engaged in in those two cases did not meet the criteria for “practicing medicine”, or else claimed that he gave unsolicited advice that was not meant to be medical orders in nature. Regardless, the first conviction of practicing medicine without a license sufficiently proves the assertion by those in Oklahoma that claimed he did not have a medical license, and therefore proves he was not a true medical physician.

Unlike Albert Armstrong in Oklahoma, “George” Armstrong was able to stay off-the-radar more often than not in Kentucky. The only other newspaper mention of him found was an announcement of his daughter Beatrice’s marriage to a George Bradberry in Union City, Kentucky. (35)


By 1930, “George B” Armstrong, still posing as a medical doctor, is found residing in Memphis, Tennessee with his wife Minnie (36). Whether he chose to relocate to Memphis or was run out of Hickman when the people there grew tired of his subterfuge is not clear. His daughter Beatrice married a second time that same year in Memphis to a Clarence Pleasant, but that is the only other located record of Armstrong or his family during that time.


Apparently assuming either the statute of limitations on his offenses in 1911 and earlier had run out, or simply believing that no one was looking for him any long, Armstrong reverted back to using the first name Albert by 1940, where he is found to still be living in Memphis and steadfastly clinging to his delusion of being a medical doctor. (37) Memphis newspapers during this time period have not been digitized, so it is not known at this time to what extent Armstrong continued to trick others into believing he was an actual doctor, or if he was ever held accountable there for continuing to practice medicine without a license.


In one of Karma’s greatest failures, Albert B. Armstrong lived out his days in apparent peace, and died in Memphis on October 7th, 1948. He is buried there at Forest Hill Cemetery Midtown, under the false title of “Dr.” (38), and an online record of his burial indicates his stone even bestows him the nickname “Doc”. (39) And his official death certificate even reflects the lie that he stretched for nearly 50 years, bestowing upon him the unearned and undeserved title of "Dr." (38) But this sorry excuse for a human being was no doctor. He was never anything but a fraud and a common criminal, and he should forever be remembered as such.

This is a man who stole the lives of two young women, who could today have had a number of descendants between them. My own grandfather, who was quite close with his grandfather Andy Barnett and also knew his sister Amanda Barnett Roberts, likely would have known Louvica as well. He could have told me about her, had stories of who and how she was, and we would have pictures of her to hang on our walls.

But instead, we’ve been left with nothing but the knowledge that this lowlife ended her life and never paid the consequences for it. But we will continue to honor and remember Louvica and the life she lived and should have continued to live. Her handmade headstone, with her name written by a finger in cement, sunk into the ground at Davenport Cemetery several years ago. While visible through the 90s, by 2012 it could not be found.

On October 21st, 2016, cemetery caretaker and local historian, after seeing a picture of Louvica’s stone taken in the 90s, took it upon himself to locate the lost stone. And so after going to the plot purchased by her husband Richard Cunningham, he pushed his shovel into the ground until it hit something solid. And so her stone was found four inches below the ground and brought back to light.

Update, 12/28/16: Cecil Barnett, grandson of Louvica's brother Andrew, went to Davenport and took Louvica's stone home. He reinforced it with new cement to prevent it from sinking below the surface again, and placed a container on the memorial so flowers could be left for her. It was put back in its place on Christmas Day, 2016. It is surely what Andrew and Louvica's other loved ones would have wanted, and their descendants will continue to ensure that Louvica is not lost or forgotten.

Finally, I encourage anyone who comes across this article and has the time to pay respects to the three women whose deaths were tied this quack Armstrong, two directly at his hands and one by his soulless promise of a cure. Be glad that your own people did not cross paths with this pathetic excuse for a human being, and be sure to honor all those innocent souls whose lives were stolen by the foulest of our kind, the murderers like Albert B. Armstrong.

1. "United States Census, 1900," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 22 January 2015), Albert B Armstrong, Justice Precinct 3, Dallas, Texas, United States; citing sheet 16A, family 283, NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,241,626.
4. "United States Census, 1910," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 29 October 2015), Albert Armstrong, Shawnee Ward 4, Pottawatomie, Oklahoma, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 224, sheet 2B, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,375,284.
5. The New Era (Davenport, Okla.), Vol. 1, No. 39, Ed. 1, Thursday, October 21, 1909. Accessed through the Oklahoma History Society's Gateway to Oklahoma:
6. The Chandler Tribune. (Chandler, Okla.), Vol. 9, No. 34, Ed. 1, October 22, 1909. Accessed through the Oklahoma History Society's Gateway to Oklahoma:
7. The New Era (Davenport, Okla.), Vol. 1, No. 40, Ed. 1, Thursday, October 28, 1909. Accessed through the Oklahoma History Society's Gateway to Oklahoma:
8. Carney Enterprise. (Carney, Okla.), Vol. 9, No. 16, Ed. 1, Friday, November 12, 1909. Accessed through the Oklahoma History Society's Gateway to Oklahoma:
9. The Chandler Tribune (Chandler, Okla.), Vol. 10, No. 1, Ed. 1, April 15, 1910. Accessed through the Oklahoma History Society's Gateway to Oklahoma:
10. Cushing Independent. (Cushing, Okla.), Vol. 9, No. 19, Ed. 1, April 7, 1910. Accessed through the Oklahoma History Society's Gateway to Oklahoma:
11. The New Era (Davenport, Okla.), Vol. 2, No. 45, Ed. 1, December 1, 1910. Accessed through the Oklahoma History Society's Gateway to Oklahoma:
12. The New Era (Davenport, Okla.), Vol. 2, No. 15, Ed. 1, May 5, 1910. Accessed through the Oklahoma History Society's Gateway to Oklahoma:
13. Photograph from the Find A Grave Memorial of Carrie Berry, Memorial # 7279112, created 21 Mar 2003 by contributor Angie (#46507705). Picture posted 28 Nov 2010, taken by contributor ancestryhunter2 (#46949759).
14. Carney Enterprise. (Carney, Okla.), Vol. 9, No. 43, Ed. 1, Friday, May 20, 1910. Accessed through the Oklahoma History Society's Gateway to Oklahoma:
15. The New Era (Davenport, Okla.), Vol. 2, No. 19, Ed. 1, Thursday, June 2, 1910. Accessed through the Oklahoma History Society's Gateway to Oklahoma:
16. The Chandler Tribune (Chandler, Okla.), Vol. 10, No. 10, Ed. 1, Friday, June 10, 1910. Accessed through the Oklahoma History Society's Gateway to Oklahoma:
17. The Chandler Tribune (Chandler, Okla.), Vol. 11, No. 5, Ed. 1, Friday, April 7, 1911. Accessed through the Oklahoma History Society's Gateway to Oklahoma:
18. The Shawnee Daily Herald. (Shawnee, Okla.), Vol. 15, No. 152, Ed. 1, February 2, 1911. Accessed through the Oklahoma History Society's Gateway to Oklahoma:
19. The New Era. (Davenport, Okla.), Vol. 3, No. 2, Ed. 1, February 2, 1911. Accessed through the Oklahoma History Society's Gateway to Oklahoma:
20. Photograph from the Find A Grave Memorial of Anna Evelyn Blair Mann, Memorial # 17099437, created 20 Dec 2006 by contributor OkieBran (#46530611). Picture posted 21 Dec 2006, taken by contributor OkieBran (#46530611).
21. The Altus Times. (Altus, Okla.), Vol. 9, No. 4, Ed. 1, Thursday, February 2, 1911. Accessed through the Oklahoma History Society's Gateway to Oklahoma:
22. The Blair Progress (Blair, Okla.), Vol. 7, No. 36, Ed. 1, Thursday, February 2, 1911. Accessed through the Oklahoma History Society's Gateway to Oklahoma:
23. Hollis Tribune (Hollis, Okla.), Vol. 1, No. 25, Ed. 1, Friday, February 3, 1911. Accessed through the Oklahoma History Society's Gateway to Oklahoma:
24. The Chandler Tribune (Chandler, Okla.), Vol. 10, No. 49, Ed. 1, Friday, March 3, 1911. Accessed through the Oklahoma History Society's Gateway to Oklahoma:
25. The New Era. (Davenport, Okla.), Vol. 3, No. 7, Ed. 1, Thursday, March 9, 1911. Accessed through the Oklahoma History Society's Gateway to Oklahoma:
26. The New Era (Davenport, Okla.), Vol. 3, No. 8, Ed. 1, Thursday, March 16, 1911. Accessed through the Oklahoma History Society's Gateway to Oklahoma:
27. The Bryan Daily Eagle and Pilot (Bryan, Tex.), Vol. 16, No. 164, Ed. 1, Friday, June 16, 1911. Accessed through the University of North Texas' Portal to Texas History:
28. The New Era (Davenport, Okla.), Vol. 3, No. 27, Ed. 1, Thursday, June 22, 1911. Accessed through the Oklahoma History Society's Gateway to Oklahoma:
29. The New Era. (Davenport, Okla.), Vol. 3, No. 36, Ed. 1, August 24, 1911. Accessed through the Oklahoma History Society's Gateway to Oklahoma:
30. The Hickman Courier (Hickman, Kent.), Page 5, Ed. 1, 28 Mar 1912. Accessed through, owned by
31. The Hickman Courier (Hickman, Kent.), Page 16, Ed. 1, 23 May 1912. Accessed through, owned by
32. "United States Census, 1920," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 14 December 2015), Minnie Armstrong in household of George Armstrong, Hickman, Fulton, Kentucky, United States; citing sheet 8B, NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,820,570.
33. The Hickman Courier (Hickman, Kent.), Page 4, Ed. 1, 21 Sep 1916. Accessed through, owned by
34. The Hickman Courier (Hickman, Kent.), Page 8, Ed. 1, 3 May 1917. Accessed through, owned by
35. The Hickman Courier (Hickman, Kent.), Page 9, Ed. 1, 4 Mar 1915. Accessed through, owned by
36. "United States Census, 1930", database with images, FamilySearch ( : 8 December 2015), George B Armstrong, 1930.
37. "United States Census, 1940," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 29 October 2016), Minnie Armstrong in household of Albert Armstrong, Ward 25, Memphis, Civil District 2, Shelby, Tennessee, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 98-163, sheet 7A, family 163, Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940, NARA digital publication T627. Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790 - 2007, RG 29. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012, roll 3965.
38. "Tennessee Death Records, 1914-1955," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 25 May 2014), Albert Armstrong, 07 Oct 1948; citing Forest Hill Cemetery, Memphis, Shelby, Tennessee, cn 22860, State Library and Archives, Nashville; FHL microfilm 2,137,402.
39. Find A Grave memorial #74022333. Created 27 Jul 2011 by contributor Ann Lindsey (#46801569).


  1. Amazing story...amazing research. Thanks for sharing with the world.

  2. Rest in peace, Louvica. You have touched my heart in ways I couldn't have imagined, thanks to Nathan Vaughn Marks. She was the half-sister to my great grandmother, Amanda Barnett Roberts. Had she not been murdered, I perhaps might have met her when I was but a child. Instead, I will visit her in the Davenport Cemetery.........